Changes proposed to the Plone Foundation bylaws
The Board of the Plone Foundation would like to propose to the membership a change in the bylaws of the Foundation.

Changes proposed to the Plone Foundation bylaws


The Plone Foundation was formed in 2006 and has received only one revision to its bylaws, in 2008. The Foundation Board has been considering ways in which to improve how the Board can better reflect the evolving Plone community and continue to provide the best possible guidance. The Board needs to continue onboarding new members while protecting its stability and continuity.

Two-year terms for board members

The main change proposed to the bylaws is to institute two-year terms for Board members, using two staggered cohorts. In this cohort scheme, the current 7 seats would be divided into a 3-seat cohort that would be up for election in 2023, and a 4-seat cohort up for election in 2024. In subsequent years, there would be elections for the alternating cohorts of 3 and 4 seats.

There will continue to be no term limits for serving on the Board.

This improved continuity of membership allows the Board to retain institutional memory and historical context. This change will also ease the onboarding process for new board members; it takes time to learn the mechanics of being on the Board and the historical reasons for the existence of various procedures and processes. Knowing their term is for at least two years will allow new members the time to get their bearings and provide the most effective guidance to the Foundation.

To begin adopting this proposal as of the 2023 elections, we propose dividing the current 7 members into two groups. The members who have served the fewest number of terms on the Board would be allowed to serve a two-year term, and the ones who have served the most terms would be allowed to serve a one-year term. Subsequent votes (in 2024 and beyond) would always be for two year terms.

Adoption of this proposal will result in the Board having the greatest amount of renewal, providing greater diversity of experience and perspective.

Inclusive language

While formulating the proposed changes to the bylaws, we noted that there were many places in which unnecessarily gendered language had been used. So we propose to change that.

While the bylaws are a formal document that probably could do with updating in other respects, the principle of ‘minimal invasiveness’ requires to keep changes to a reasonable minimum. Taking out unnecessarily gendered language is, in our opinion, both necessary and not disruptive.

Concrete proposal and timeline

There is a version of the proposed changes with “tracked changes” showing, as well as a clean version.

As the Board would like to start the change already with the 2023 elections, we propose to put up this change as a simple “yes/no” vote to all Active Foundation Members, with the following timeline:

  • August 9-16, 2023: Period for Foundation members to update their emails on the Membership Mailing List and/or request to be transitioned from Emeritus to Active.
  • August 17-24, 2023: Voting period
  • August 25, 2023: Results announced
  • August 31, 2023: Plone Foundation Board nomination period starts

Revisions to this news item

  • 2023-08-17: Rephrasing of the Rationale to reflect that the proposed changes are intended to allow Board members to continue providing the best guidance possible
  • 2023-08-17: Clarification that there continues to be no limit to the number of terms a Board member may serve